Social Disadvantages of Homeschooling ..........................................
Will My Child Be A Recluse?
Yup, you've heard it. The social disadvantages of homeschooling are often considered the trump card of the anti-homeschooling crowd.
The commonly held belief is that homeschooled children are deprived of needed social interaction, and therefore become social misfits (weirdos). Don't believe it. This simply is not true, and I'll be glad to explain why.
The homeschooled child does not need to be a social recluse.
Our children have good friendships that they enjoy very much. This helps eliminate the social disadvantages of homeschooling.
We try to make our home a safe social gathering place.
Our boys have done things such as inviting friends here for a sleepover, gone ice skating with friends on the pond behind our property, and had friends here for birthday parties. We are actively involved in our church, which gives our children lots of good social interaction in Sunday School and after church.
One of our sons is attending an art class taught locally, and as our children get older we expect to have them more involved in activities outside our home such as piano and guitar lessons, 4-H, and volunteering for community work.
Many communities have homeschooling co-ops, clubs, support groups, field trips, etc.
One reason many people think there are social disadvantages of homeschooling, is that they don't understand how many social opportunities homeschoolers have!
Christian Smith and David Sikkink analyzed the data from the 1996 National Household Education Survey (NHES). They concluded that homeschoolers and private schoolers are "definitely not the isolated recluses that critics suggest they might be. It is rather the public schooling families that are clearly the least civically involved of all the schooling types...
"The empirical evidence is clear and decisive: private schoolers and homeschoolers are considerably more involved in the public square than are public schoolers-even when the effects of differences in education, income, and other related factors are removed from the equation. Indeed, we have reason to believe that the organizations and practices involved in private and homeschooling, in themselves, tend to foster public participation in civic affairs...
"The challenges, responsibilities, and practices that private schooling and home education normally entail for their participants may actually help reinvigorate America's civic culture and the participation of our citizens in the public square" (Quoted in Homeschool Heroes, Klicka).
But there's a question we need to address:
All good parents want their children to relate well socially. How can children learn this? Who is best qualified to teach a child how to behave socially? Is it their immature peers, or you as their parent?
A child in school is typically in a "herd" setting, grouped with those of like age. This limits their ability to learn how to interact with different age groups, and teaches them the social mistakes of their immature peers. A home schooled child is more likely to learn social successes from their more mature siblings and parent/teacher.
One of the most artificial social situations a child ever encounters, may be his school! Where else in life will he be grouped with others of his own age and socio-economic status?
Homeschool is much more like real life, so it's not surprising that homeschoolers do much better than either privately or publicly schooled students. Maybe instead of discussing the social disadvantages of homeschooling, we should be discussing this about private or public schools!
Glad to be dad,
A number of studies have been done, showing the social advantages of homeschooling. Here are some of them.
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